Elizabeth II (1952-date)
0.20 AUD = 0.16 USD
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ANZAC to Afghanistan Series - Thai-Burma Railway
4th portrait of Queen Elizabeth II facing right wearing the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara
Two Australian POW's working on the railroad watched over by a Japanese guard
© Mike Bentley
The Royal Australian Mint in conjunction with some Australian Newspapers released this coin in a coincard as part of a 14 coin set. The first coin came with a large folding album. The series is called "ANZACs to Afghanistan".
To get a coin you had to obtain a token from the newspaper and redeem it at a cost of $3.00. Different tokens were published each day for 2 weeks (hence 14 coins). The coins are commemorating 14 significant military moments that have shaped Australia over the past 100 years from World War 1 to the modern day. Ten of the 14 coins released in the series are 20 cent coins and four of them are Australia's first 25 cent coins.
This 20 Cent coin pays tribute to the 22,000 Australians who became Prisoners of War under the Japanese in South east Asia during WW2. Most of them were captured in the fall of Singapore in February 1942. 10,000 of the POW's were forced to work on the construction of infamous Thai-Burma Railway. There they became victims of their captor's indifference and brutality, as well as endemic disease and malnutrition. An important Australian at the time was Colonel Edward "Weary" Dunlop, a doctor who spent his time in captivity trying to maintain the health and wellbeing of all prisoners. In doing so he became an iconic figure in Australian memories of the Thai-Burma Railway. He was later commemorated on a circulating 50 cent commemorative coin issued by the RAM in 1995.
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